International Women’s Day: 10 Ways to Honour Women in Your Workplace

This International Women’s Day, there are so many things you can do to support women, both in your own life as well as in the workplace. The day is all about celebrating women worldwide for their political, economic and social achievements, as well as constantly working toward bettering the lives of women, everywhere. Find out 10 simple things you can do to celebrate this important day of women.

1. Learn the History of International Women’s Day - the whole point of this important day is to celebrate the accomplishments of what women have achieved as well as the struggles we’ve gone through. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909 to honour the 1908 garment women’s strike in New York, where women protested awful working conditions. It was internationally observed on March 19th, 1911 across Europe, and by 1977, the United Nations designated March 8th as International Women’s Day. Since then, there have been countless victories around the world as women succeed in bettering their working and living conditions and rights. Read all about other crucial victories.

2. Find Out About the Women Who Fought for our Rights - all over the world, women have accomplished some amazing things when it comes to equality and female rights. Right here in Canada, we have the Famous Five, who worked hard to ensure women were seen as persons. The Toronto Star mentions 10 Canadian women who really made a difference, Canadian Living has a great article about 35 inspiring Canadian women, or check out these 30 women’s rights activists. From fighting for our rights, to breaking barriers, to being social or political activists in their field, we have so many amazing women in Canada that make us proud.

3. Host a Workplace Event - we have celebrations for holidays and birthdays, why not celebrate other events like International Women’s Day? Plan a potluck or simple get-together with co-workers. Everyone can dress up as an inspiring female, you can listen to awesome female musicians and even make a game out of learning the history of some of these important women. Everyone loves a celebration! Just don’t forget to follow these tips on how to keep any workplace party safe and healthy.

4. Donate to a Women’s Shelter - there are so many ways in which you can help your local women’s shelter. Whether you’re donating your time, your money or items, there are always strong needs for local women and children. Find out what your local shelter really needs by starting with this helpful article. Gather your co-workers together to come up with a group donation of some sort.

5. Participate in Activism - as an employer, there are many things you can do to become more active in women’s rights. Send a letter from your business to let politicians know that you support bills like the domestic and sexual violence paid leave bill. Ensure you have a workplace domestic violence policy in place. If your employees don’t have training yet, sign up for this (free) important training.

Four women sit around table writing on papers

6. Learn the Signs of Domestic Violence - domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. You might easily miss the signs that someone you know is being abused by a family member, even if this person is a close co-worker or friend. Read up on the warning signs and find our how you can best help someone you know, like a co-worker, who might be experiencing abuse.

7. Support Local Women - every community has female entrepreneurs, artists or musicians who are taking a stand for women’s rights and equality. Support these women through their endeavours by hosting a workplace event with one of them or having your workplace join a local event one of them might be hosting.

8. Help the Women in Your Workplace - whether it’s a new mom needing support or a co-worker in need of help with her workload, assist those closest to you. Even the smallest of tasks or acts of kindness can go far. Thank the women closest to you and don’t forget to remind them how important they are.

9. Find out how to Help a Co-worker who is Being Abused - if you suspect a co-worker is an abusive relationship of any kind, read up on 5 simple steps you can take to help her. We know that domestic violence doesn’t discriminate, so whether you’re a doctor, a tradesperson, or a restaurant owner, you can always be on the lookout for your fellow co-workers or employees.

 Young woman wearing apron stands in front of cafe

10. Treat ALL Women with Respect - today and every day. Speak up for women, all the time. Never stand by if you see or hear a women experiencing harassment of any kind at work, even if you think it’s none of your business. As men, it’s especially important to take a stand. Don’t just listen and let co-workers make disrespectful comments or rape jokes - these are never okay. As both an employer and an employee, treat all women with respect, modelling this behaviour for other men. 

Happy International Women’s Day!